Why obsess about time?

Why obsess about time?

I do not advocate sleep diaries where every detail of one’s sleeping and waking hours is recorded in term of hours and minutes. For people who are trying to stop obsessing about sleep, this is a terrible reinforcing behaviour. Clock-watching and box-ticking can create a horrible obsession with:

- time spent asleep

- time spent awake

- time spent before falling asleep

- time spent trying to fall asleep

- time spent waiting to feel sleepy after having got up after being unable to sleep.

Hence, one can feel tense and anxious in the morning, not because of sleep deprivation, but because of worries about the number of hours one has spent asleep. It actually doesn’t much matter how many hours one spends asleep or waking because not all sleep is the same. All that matters is how one feels, and how well one functions in the daytime. We have all had perfectly happy and productive days in the past after only a few hours’ sleep. Obsessing about the number of hours we ought to be sleeping makes the possibility of these carefree days more unlikely. Clock-watching creates an unhealthy obsession with time.